Dealing with the Timid Rider - Page 2

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Dealing with the Timid Rider

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    03-15-2012, 09:59 AM
I would see if I could get her out to groom her horse while grooming yours and casually talk about things then bring up things your scared of ... and elaborate so then it encourages her to know that you guys aren't perfect but you work through it... and eventually ask her what about you?? Do you have any fears or anything with your horse?? But doing it casually will bring a good conversation while working around them from the ground.

If you really have no fear you could make a white lie and say when I first started riding I was scared of water crossings... but my horse loved it and when I trusted her to get me through it I realized it wasnt so bad... something simple like that.

Then whatever fears she brings up offer to help her overcome them.

A situation like that might be best then you wont have to suffer shortening the trail ride and she wont have to be scared to ride back alone...

If she is just nervous in general about her horse see if you can help her in a round join up type thing that could inspire her to trust her horse a bit more when she realizes he will follow her...

One thing for sure is no one is benefiting by turning back... you guys lose trail time and she loses more and more confidence in eiter herself or her horse
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    03-15-2012, 01:09 PM
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    03-15-2012, 01:32 PM
Green Broke
Originally Posted by outnabout    
Maybe I missed this somewhere, but how old is the timid rider? If she is going out with riders of her age group, I agree with smrobs... she knows what she is in for on a trail by now and should welcome the challenges or find something else to do. On the other hand, if there is an inequity in terms of age or experience with the other riders, she may be reaching for a learning experience but not handling it well due to fear or something else. This would IMO require compassion, but not at the expense of the group. I think someone suggested going out one on one with someone who would encourage her.
This situation brought to mind some trail rides I did in the hill country in Texas a couple of years back. I did the advanced rides with a guide from a dude ranch and there was a 15-year old daughter of one of the men who began crying about 10 minutes into the ride because she was so scared. We had only done a couple of dry creek crossings with steep inclines at that point. The horses cantered up the inclines and there was mostly trotting. Of course, some talk about wild boars to make it all more fun I offered to have her ride beside me, but the guide was a real dear and took her on up front, riding with him.
She was terrified the whole ride that lasted about 3 hours (and not without incident ) but she made it. After that I wonder if she is still riding horses and doing trail rides.
Bottom line... compassion and encouragement when a rider gets in over their head is appropriate, but only once. After that, it is best to be honest and let the rider know that there will be creek crossings and inclines so they had best not come along until they are comfortable because the group will not wait up for them. OP is probably like most of us who live for the next trail ride and the last thing we need is a ninny whining about a creek crossing!
Agreed -- I was also wondering what the age of the rider in question is. Some suggestions would vary based on that.
    03-15-2012, 01:35 PM
I don't think her age matters at all. I'd tell her where I was going and if she wanted to come she's welcome but i'm not turning around or going a different way to accomodate her. It will better prepare her for adult life as well as making her a better rider.
mildot likes this.
    03-15-2012, 02:21 PM
I think I would be inclined to let her know in advance where you will be riding, and that you do not plan on turning back. If she wants to go, fine, but she will have to cowgirl up if she does.

I don't much like the idea of having her return to the barn by herself if she chickens out...she may not be able to handle the horse on her own - especially if the horse would prefer to remain with the group and not strike out alone. That coud be a recipe for disaster.

You might encourage her to have a little faith in her horse - it sounds like she really doesn't have any trust there. Unless you see something to indicate otherwise, let her know that the horse will take care of her, and she needed worry overmuch.

I'm an incredibly chicken rider. While trail riding with friends on obstacles I am unsure of, I just ride with a loose rein and hang on for dear life (yes - sometimes even with my eyes closed!) Fortunately, I've always had good horses that weren't willing to be left behind, so they kept up with the group. Most of the time my companions were unaware of how scared I was - I didn't want them to know.

If my horse was truly being a witch, my companions had no issues with either trading horses or returning to base to drop me off. Maybe that was because if my horse was being a witch, there was probably another horse acting up, too!

Funny how they usually thought I was a pretty competent trail rider - if they only knew the truth!
    03-15-2012, 02:24 PM
Green Broke
Originally Posted by kevinshorses    
I don't think her age matters at all. I'd tell her where I was going and if she wanted to come she's welcome but i'm not turning around or going a different way to accomodate her. It will better prepare her for adult life as well as making her a better rider.
The reason that age was a consideration in some of the advice I might offer would be that approaching a parent/guardian may be advisable in some situations.
    03-15-2012, 02:25 PM
I can see that.
    03-15-2012, 03:00 PM
I still think it would be better to take some time and get to know the girl and become someone she looks up to and trusts. Talk with her and groom your horses together like suggested above. And she'll cross the water when she's ready. Then she can overcome a fear, and have a friend/role model in the hobby she enjoys.
    03-15-2012, 03:40 PM
Green Broke
As has been suggested, let her know you are going on said trail and will be crossing creeks, up hills, etc. if she wants to stay at the barn she can, or maybe later in the week set up a shorter, easier ride for her to come along.

I hate riders that blame the horse. Being so nervous and uptight, especially when it involves pulling on the reins and harsh bits, can result in an awful wreck that is all the riders fault. We had one guy who's horse "didn't like" things or became "scared" of hills, water, footing, traffic, etc. no one else had a problem riding his horse, his horse was well behaved, just he had fears he wasn't willing to face. He finally stopped riding with us. While we were willing to slow down, we were not willing to stop riding where there were were hills, roads, water and mud.
    03-15-2012, 04:02 PM
If you give advice to a rider that blames thier horse and something happens guess who gets blamed. Not the horse.

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